outdoor hour challenge #6

September 30, 2011

Carols of gladness ring from every tree.
~Frances Anne Kemble

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge from the Handbook of Nature Study blog is, “Starting a Collection.”

L already has a fine little collection growing–of shells, rocks, acorns, and feathers.

But this week we started a new kind of collection.

For this challenge, we incorporated what L learned yesterday in her Growing Up Wild class at the local nature center.

They read When Agnes Caws by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Giselle Potter. (I love Giselle Potter’s work–we’ve also read and love Kate and the Beanstalk, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, and The Boy Who Loved Words.)

Then they learned the calls of a few birds that live in our area and that are easily recognizable with mnemonics (here is a comprehensive list). After being introduced to these little rhymes, each child was assigned a specific one and then the group was directed to sing their birdsongs, all together, all at once. It was a loud but beautiful little carol, with my great-horned owl singing, “Who’s awake? Me, Too.”

She was very much infatuated with the idea that she could talk to the owls and whooo-whoot-ed for the rest of the day. Even my insistence that the owls were asleep wouldn’t stop her, in part, because a helpful teacher, who overheard me reminding L about owls being nocturnal, informed us that barn owls are awake during the day and even told us where we could find them in the park. But then again she is willful enough that she would talk at the owls anways, whether or not they’re asleep : )  

I look forward to helping her build this new collection so we can get to know who is singing which song. (And the library of birdsongs at Cornell’s website should help us along with the list of mnemonics.)

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One Response to “outdoor hour challenge #6”


  1. This is one of my favorite things to learn about when it comes to birds…to identify them by their call and song. This is a great skill that you are introducing your daughter to.

    Thanks for the link and the recommendation for the book.


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